Synonymous with violins
Despite its celebrated tall slender bell-tower, the Torrazzo, Cremona has always seemed to hide its light under a bushel. It glories in a provincial market-town simplicity and you see relatively few foreigners on its beautifully-arcaded main piazza. Yet all the symbols of a great city of art and architecture stand around it: a Romanesque cathedral guarded by lions of red Verona marble, a baptistery and public palaces of late-Gothic style.
Cremona’s history is rich and complex. It was a cockpit of squabbles, ruled in turn by the Visconti and the Sforza. The harmonious layout, however, reflects its musical reputation. The composers Monteverdi (1567-1643) and Ponchielli (1834-86) were natives; and as everyone knows Cremona was the birthplace and workshop of the Amati, of Stradivarius and of Guarnerius. It is synonymous with violins, especially those of the 17th and 18thC masters, softer and sweeter in tone than anything since produced. You can see violins being made at the Violin Museum on Piazza Marconi.